Crucial Facts About Type 2 Diabetes


Type 2 diabetes is a long term metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is primarily due to obesity and not enough exercise.

Here are some of the key facts and statistics:

Prevalence & Risk Factors

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasing prevalent illness that is largely preventable. In adults, type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

  • 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, 8.1 million of whom may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.
  • In adults 20 and older, more than one in every 10 people suffers from diabetes, and in seniors (65 and older), that figure rises to more than one in four.
  • 1.7 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in U.S. adults in 2012, and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is on the rise.

Many of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes include lifestyle decisions and can be eliminated or reduced with time and effort. Cases of diagnosed diabetes cost the United States an estimated $245 billion in 2012, a figure that is expected to rise the increasing number of diagnosed individuals.

  • Men are at slightly higher risk of developing diabetes than women, but age, excess weight (particularly around the waist), family history, physical inactivity, and poor diet are also significant risk factors for the illness.
  • Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a 35 to 60 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 to 20 years following the pregnancy.
  • In general, a child has a 1 in 7 chance of developing diabetes if one parent was diagnosed before age 50. A child has a 1 in 13 chance if the parent was diagnosed after age 50. Some studies suggest that the child’s risk of developing diabetes is greater if the mother has diabetes. If both parents have diabetes, the child’s risk of developing it is approximately 50 percent.
  • Research suggests that 1 out of 3 adults has pre-diabetes. Of this group, 9 out of 10 people don’t know that they have pre-diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes is on the rise worldwide. the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reports that as of 2013 there were more than 387 million people living with diabetes. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 90 percents of people around the world who suffer from diabetes suffer from type 2 diabetes.

  • In 2004, high blood sugar as a result of diabetes led to an estimated 3.4 million deaths worldwide.
  • More than eight of every 10 diabetes-related deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries.
  • In developing nations, more than half of all diabetes cases go undiagnosed.
  • WHO anticipates that worldwide deaths attributable to diabetes will double by 2030.
  • Adults ages 40 to 59 comprise the world’s age group with the highest diabetes rates, although this is expected to shift to adults ages 60 to 79 by 2030.


The development of type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors. While some of these factors are under personal control, such as diet and obesity, other factors are not, such as increasing age, female gender, and genetics.

  • A lack of sleep has been linked to type 2 diabetes – this is believed to act through its effect on metabolism.
  • Consumption of sugar, sweetened drinks in excess is associated with an increased risk.
  • The type of fats in the diets are also important, with saturated fats and trans fatty acids increasing the risk.
  • A lack of exercise is believed to cause 7% of cases.
  • Most cases of diabetes involve many genes, with each being a small contributor to an increased probability of becoming a type 2 diabetic.
  • Smoking also appears to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Signs & Symptoms

The classic symptoms of diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger and weight loss
  • Blurred vision, itchiness, recurrent vaginal infections and exhaustion

Many people, however, have no symptoms during the first few years and are diagnosed on routine testing.

Complications & Effects

The problem associated with type 2 diabetes are common and can be severe. Side effects and comorbidities of the illness can include heart disease, stroke, hypertension, blindness and eye problems, kidney disease, nervous system complications, amputations, dental disease, pregnancy complications, and mental health problems (such as depression).

  • WHO estimates that 50 percent of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease, primarily heart disease and stroke.
  • More than 71 percent of U.S. adults (18 and older) with diabetes had hypertension or reported using medication to treat hypertension.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of newly diagnosed adult (20 to 74 years of age) blindness in the United States.
  • Diabetes was the primary cause of kidney failure in 44 percent of all new cases in 2011. During the same year it was also reported that 228,924 people (all age groups) began treatment for kidney failure due to diabetes.
  • Diabetes causes mild loss of sensation in extremities in as many as 70 percent of diabetic adults. When this loss of sensitivity occurs, amputations of lower extremities may be necessary; more than 60% of all non-traumatic amputations of lower limbs occur in people with diabetes.
  • Approximately 73,000 lower-limb amputations were performed in diabetics age 20 and older.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes during pregnancy can increase the chance of birth defects, large babies, and other complications that can be dangerous to the baby and the mother.
  • Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from depression as individuals without a diabetes diagnosis.
  • Diabetics have twice the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.


Both type 2 diabetes and its side effects can often be prevented or delayed. The most cost-effective prevention methods include regular physical activity and a healthy diet. Regular visits to a healthcare provider and maintaining a healthy weight are also essential to identifying risks, preventing type 2 diabetes, and delaying its onset.

Up to 85 percent of complications and morbidities among individuals with type 2 diabetes can be prevented, delayed, or effectively treated and minimises with regular visits to a health professional, appropriate monitoring and medication, and a healthy diet and lifestyle. Early identification of potential complications can provide opportunities for intervention, education, and referral to a specialist when necessary.

  • The Diabetes Prevention Program found that weight loss and increased physical activity reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent during a three-year study period. Amongst older subjects (those age 60 years or older), the reduction was 71 percent.
  • Overweight individuals who lose even five to seven percent of their body weight through exercising and healthy eating may effectively prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes indefinitely.
  • Obtain regular checks of blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels to monitor your risk factors and work to achieve and maintain healthy levels of each. Having healthy levels of these three indicators significantly reduces your risk of diabetes.
  • The drug Metformin was found to reduce the risk of diabetes onset by 31 percent, particularly in younger (ages 25 to 44 years) and heavier adults (those with a body mass index over 35) considered pre-diabetic.

Always contact your physician or doctor for advice and treatment.